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NHS Improvement: long term plan to reset performance over next five years

By Valeria Fiore
30 November 2018

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The long term plan will ‘signal a reset’ of NHS performance over the next five years, NHS Improvement has said.

NHS England arm’s-length body published its quarter two report on the performance of the provider sector yesterday, which once again showed that the NHS fell short of meeting its targets.

However, NHS Improvement promised that the upcoming long-term plan will reset the health service’s performance.

NHS Improvement chief executive Ian Dalton said: ‘The long-term plan is our opportunity to fundamentally redesign how the NHS works so that it can continue to provide high-quality care for patients.’

Report’s key findings

A&E performance between July and September this year failed to hit the NHS target of 95% of patients being seen in four hours or less. Instead, 89.3% of people were seen in that time, compared to 91.1% in the same period last year.

NHS Improvement data also shows that demand on hospitals has increased as they admitted nearly 1,000 more emergency patients a day than in the same period last year.

While demand on services are rising, the number of staff vacancies remains high, at around 103,000 vacancies. This is, however, a slight improvement on the quarter one figure of 108,000.

Providers’ forecasted end of year deficit is £558m. The provider sector closed the 2017/18 financial year with a deficit of £960m.

According to calculations by healthcare think tank the Nuffield Trust, the sector will end this financial year with an underlying deficit of £4.2bn, a slight improvement on the £4.3bn providers faced at the end of the last year financial year.

Long-term plan: expectations

The upcoming long-term plan, which is expected to be published by 21 December, will seek to eradicate the provider deficit, according to NHS Improvement.

According to NHS Improvement, the long-term plan will also introduce a plan for the road to recovery and to improving patient care in England over the next decade, specifying how the extra £20.5bn pledged by Theresa May in June will be spent over the next five years.

According to a report by NHS Providers published in October, the long-term plan should reset performance and finances, without repeating the mistakes of the past – such as the introduction of unachievable performance targets.

Commenting on the NHS Improvement quarter two report, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said: ‘NHS Improvement rightly argues that the new NHS long term plan must reset NHS performance.

‘This means trusts must be given realistic financial and operational performance targets next year that they can actually deliver.

‘They must be properly funded to break the current cycle of ever worsening performance. And we still need more urgent action to address workforce shortages.’

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